Topic Clusters: The Secret to Getting Better Website Rankings and Converting More Leads

In Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy by Robb FahrionLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Do you want to outrank your competition and become an authority in your field?

Having analyzed more than 80 million keywords and search results, Sistrix discovered that the average click-through rate (CTR) for Google’s first organic result is 28.5%.

(Source: Sistrix)

Albert Einstein, an extraordinary scientist and genius personality, suffered continuous failures during childhood. He couldn’t speak until he was nine years old and was subsequently expelled from school. This well-known scientist was denied admission into Zurich Polytechnic School. 

But he continuously proved himself to be a renowned gem in science and technology with outstanding inventions and contributions. In 1921, he won the Nobel Prize for Physics.

The success story of Albert Einstein proves that anyone can reach the top with hard work, the right skills, and consistency.

There is intense competition to be found on the first page of search engine results, and this has made most content-based websites leverage new models in the evolution of SEO practices.

Does your company have what it takes to beat the competition and improve its website rankings?

Do you want to take your SEO and content strategy to a whole new level?

Adopt a topic cluster model!

In addition to making your content marketing strategy more sophisticated, organized, and efficient, topic clusters ultimately increase website rankings and attract business leads.

Key Takeaways:

  • Topic clusters provide search engines with additional context about your content.
  • They do not replace the need for keyword research.
  • Content clustering is not as complicated as it sounds.
  • You can establish authority in your field if you create several pieces of SEO-friendly content around one topic.
  • The topic cluster model comprises pillar pages, cluster pages, and hyperlinks.

Let’s plunge into this amazing SEO strategy.

Topic Clusters: What Are They?

Put simply, topic clusters use hyperlinks to put together different content pieces that relate to one broad topic. By doing this, your target audience will have less trouble finding your posts. As a result, you will have increased organic traffic and more engagement.

(Source: SlideShare)

With topic clusters, you can organize your content to improve the ability of your site to rank for keywords and also eases navigation.

To build excellent topic clusters, you need to be careful in your planning and very thoughtful in your execution.

Just like other SEO and content marketing strategies, the goal of creating topic clusters is to help organize your content for Google and other search engines and improve your website rankings. The more you have, the higher your website rankings over time.

The Anatomy of Topic Clusters

To create a topic cluster, you will need three major components, namely:

(Source: SpeechSilver)

  • Pillar page: After choosing the core topic that you want to rank for, you need the pillar page to serve as an authority page. If, for example, you sell compression materials, and you want to rank for “compression socks,” you should have a pillar page providing in-depth resources on queries your target audience may have on the topic.

(Source: SlideShare)

Examples of pillar pages are services pages and educational resource pages.

  • Subtopic pages or cluster content: These pages, usually written as blog posts, focus on providing long-tail content to your target audience on the core topic. You can include your long-tail keyword content in your subtopic pages or articles.

For instance, you can create a subtopic page on “how to prevent varicose veins” to emphasize the major benefits of compression materials.

  • Hyperlinks: When you link your cluster content to their respective pillar pages, you are making search engines to identify the pillar page as a relevant and authoritative resource on the primary topic.

Why Do You Need Topic Clusters?

When you organize your content into topic clusters, it improves the quality of your information.

Are you beginning to consider giving this topic cluster model a try?

There are several reasons why you should do so. Check out these top 5 reasons:

A. Increase the number of returning visitors

Do you want to increase traffic and get more newsletter signups?

Clustering your content can help with this.

The goal of any good content marketing strategy is to get conversions, usually in the form of email subscribers. Visitors to your website are more likely to return if you focus on covering topics that are relevant to their needs.

If visitors notice that your content is always about a particular topic of interest, they will always want to know when something new on the topic shows up. This will make them more eager to subscribe to your newsletters.

B. Your SEO needs them

Do you want to make things easier for search engines?

If you do, structuring your content to improve its relevance for search engine bots is a great place to start. If you have written 10 pages of content, endeavor to include all of them in a single topic cluster and do some internal linking to make it easier for Google to recognize that they are thematically related.

With over 5 billion pages of data to interpret, you will be making it easier for Google to easily collect and digest your data.

C. They provide a map you can follow

If you intend to use the topic cluster model, you will have to pay more attention to your content marketing plan and choose your first blog post wisely. 

As a good content marketer or strategist, you will be forced to think about the topics your target audience is interested in and the keywords they will likely use. Then you get your content clusters and assess their individual commercial value.

So you see, topic clusters give you direction and take away the guesswork. Instead of making decisions based on your gut instincts, you rely on data instead.

D. Improves your topical relevance

How can you prove the authoritativeness of your content to Google algorithms?

By ensuring that your content focuses on one topic.

It is not enough to just create great, SEO-relevant content; you need to make it relevant to one particular topic. 

Topic clusters are the best way to do this; you can rank for many keywords by linking several sub-clusters to your pillar page.

E. Improves user experience

People don’t like to crawl for too long into a site. They prefer to find all contextually relevant information that they are looking for in one place, otherwise, they will leave your website and return to the search engine.

Thanks to topic clusters and internal links, your target audience and even search engines no longer have to bounce off your pillar page or website in search of much-needed contextually relevant information.

Steps in Creating Topic Clusters

Do you want to save time while creating high-quality content?

Use the pillar-topic model. This model provides one of the best ways to streamline your content creation to create better content. It ensures that your content is well-planned, researched, and published in different content formats.

By now you may be wondering, “How can I create these topic clusters?”

It’s quite simple. Just follow these steps:

#1 - Choose A Core Topic

This step is essential because you will need it when creating your pillar page. Creating a curated topic plan is a strategy that works for every niche. Afterwards, you can break the content down into subtopics and these will form your cluster content.

Bear in mind that the topic you choose must align with your type of business so that your content will showcase the value you can provide to your potential customers. This requires a lot of brainstorming, which is why you may need to hire an organic SEO agency to handle this SEO/content marketing strategy for you.

If you would rather generate topic ideas yourself, these questions will set you on the right track:

  • What information is my target audience interested in?
  • Can this topic be broken down into smaller subtopics?
  • Can I get more variations of this topic for fresh content?
  • Will I need to arrange these topics in a certain manner?

#2 - Conduct An In-Depth Keyword Research

Researching for keywords on your chosen topic is the next step. Using a keyword tracking tool like Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer Tool will allow you to identify topics and subtopic keywords that relate to your pillar keyword. Afterwards, you can still use this tool to find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for.

#3 - Outline the Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters

Does this sound a bit complicated?

It actually isn’t. 

To do this, first, outline your pillar pages by covering a wide range of relevant topics, but leave some room for subtopics as well. Then go ahead and create outlines for your topic clusters by developing relevant topics that you can link back to your pillar pages.

In your content outlines, include headings, subheadings, a list of keywords, word count, and references.

#4 - Create Shareable Content

If you have gotten to this step, you are ready to start creating your content. It is important to develop quality, original content that will beat that of your competitors, appeal to your target audience, and stand out.



(Source: Lumen)

You can either get a reputable organic SEO agency to help you create shareable content or you follow these tips to do it yourself:

  • Write naturally without stuffing keywords

  • Be clear and straight to the point. Answer your audience’s questions in a way they can easily decipher.

  • Ensure you maintain a high quality no matter the number of keywords

  • Make reference to only authoritative sites

  • Avoid plagiarism

  • Use a consistent tone throughout

  • Use related keywords

  • Include alt attributes to your images

#5 - Publish the Content and Add Hyperlinks

After you create shareable content, you will need to publish it. Then add internal links to the supporting topic clusters. These links should be added from time to time as you update your content. This will help to increase your website rankings and boost the relevance of your content.

Pro tip: manual internal linking is best. But it’s also tedious, and slow, and takes away time for other SEO activities. You need a premium internal linking plugin to help you and the best one is Link Whisper. As mentioned, it’s a premium plugin and it costs money, but you can get a $15 discount here.

#6 - Measure the Result of Your Topic Clusters

Measuring your topic cluster results will give you the data you will need to improve the quality of your content and your website rankings. 

Semrush’s Traffic Analytics Tool will help you to monitor the performance of your content, see the number of visits and visitors, measure the ratio of desktop and mobile traffic, and discover the engagement metrics. These will help to optimize your content for the right audience.

Knowing which topic clusters were most successful and where they are mostly viewed will help you to expand your clusters and continue to create shareable content. You will also spend less time brainstorming before creating more content because you already know what works for your company.

Are You Ready To Create High-Converting Blog Content?

If you are creating topic clusters yourself instead of hiring an organic SEO agency to do it for you, you should avoid these two major mistakes:

  • Link siloing: When you intentionally refuse to link between different topic clusters to concentrate relevance, you are link-siloing. Link silos do not capture every valuable hyperlinking opportunity and may leave your topics disconnected from each other.

  • Content flooding or keyword cannibalization: This occurs when you create lots of blog posts targeting very similar or the same keywords. These pages will start competing for website rankings. Avoid this by searching for unique keywords with varying search intents, then build your cluster pages around these keywords.

Produce Stand Out Content with Topic Clusters!

Are you ready to apply this information?

The topic cluster model is an SEO strategy that organizes your content to enable easy navigation by both users and search engines. However, it is not rocket science.

Getting your topic clusters on the first page of Google results might take a while but it remains a worthwhile long-term investment.

If you don’t have the time to spare in ensuring the best results from your topic clustering efforts, you can hire FlyingVGroup. This organic SEO agency has skilled professionals that will ensure you see an increase in website rankings and lead conversions. Contact us now!


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Robb Fahrion
Robb Fahrion, Partner
Flying V Group